His grandfather was crazy. Corey knew it at a young age, hell, the whole street knew it. The last time he saw his grandfather was the day the old man stood on his front porch and yelling at him. He was playing with the neighbor kids as his father talked to the people across the street. They were complaining again about his grandfather. Corey stood behind his grandfather's car that was parked outside his fence as the gunshots rang out through the streets. Corey could see the impact points on the gravel, tearing like an invisible beast into the blacktop.
The kids scattered back home and Corey, who sat inches from the scarred street, pushed harder into the old car's tire, scared out of his mind. His father yelled like a madman at his own crazy father who stood there with his shotgun putted towards his son. "Put the gun down," his father yelled.
Corey was pretty much broken for a week. He stayed in his room, thinking. He refused to play with his video games or even watch any television. He was a zombie for one whole week, only leaving his room for short potty breaks. His parents would never see him leave his room; they would occasionally hear the restroom door close and the followed sounds of a flush. They brought him plates of food everyday to his room, but none of it was ever devoured.
When the week was over and he seemed to be growing out of it, he joined his family for supper. No more zombie, well at least until Halloween.
His parents argued the morning before Halloween and it wasn't until the next day he realized why. "No, he's not going back there?" his mom yelled, but she didn't convince his father who took the whole family, including his older sister, trick or treating around his grandfather's house. His father wanted to spend a day cleaning out his childhood house, while his father remained locked away in a mental facility. "Just one night, he can trick or treat there. Lauren can watch him," his father had said as Lauren held a look of burden upon her face.
Corey was a zombie again. This time he was in a costume with fake scars and blood across his face and clothes. He even practiced walking like one and speaking in short grunts, but it wouldn't be enough to scare the four kids that stood outside his grandfather's yard. They seemed like statue's stuck in time. Even their costumes seemed old and outdated. They turned in unison at him as he stepped out of the car. One wore a clown's mask; another wore a plastic puppet's mask with two dark lines on each side of its cheek. The other two were dressed as a ghost and a mummy. A pool of blood seemed to have collected on the mummy's bandaged face. Corey was too afraid to talk to them and his family seemed to not even notice their existence.
His sister grabbed him by the arm and said, "Come on worm, let's get this over with." She was fourteen, seven years older than Corey and yet she was always trying to act older. She wore tight clothes with cute little tiger ears; a sexy cat is how she described it. Of course, the teenage boy down the street saw her apparent boy-attracting uniform and approached her at the gate to his house. The boy teased her with his charm. He must have been three years older than her, but he didn't mind and neither did Lauren. "Just go on your own brat," she said trying to impress the boy in his toga costume. "Here's some candy." The boy poured the bowl he held over the small wooden fence that separated them and into Corey's pillowcase. "If you leave us alone, I'll give you more," he said.
He walked down the street alone with his bag full of candy and eventually sat down alone on a cold curb. Kids circled, dancing with their own chocolate treasures. There was a girl that pranced around in a tiger costume, a baby dressed as an egg and many other creative and uncreative monstrosities that roamed that patch of blacktopped street. Four stuck out of the crowd, mostly because they looked back at him with those awful vintage costumes.
The night became a blur. They moved fast. They laughed as they beat him and kicked him. They created cuts and bruises on his arm, replacing the fake ones his mother had made for him. His candy was thrown all over the streets and as he blinked back into consciousness, he felt the warm grasp of his mother.
"I think we should take him to the hospital," his mother said.
"He's okay. It's just cuts and bruises," his father said placing another box by the doorway.
"Look at him, Mark!" his mother yelled. "You haven't even looked at your son," she concluded.
"Fine!" his father yelled. "Let's go."
The three walked outside and stopped suddenly when they saw the four kids at the gate. "Trick or treaters?" his mother asked.
"No," Corey said.
"Everyone back inside," his father said. "Now!"
Corey's mother stopped and turned back, "Where's Lauren?"
Lauren wiggled her tight jeans on, apparently the boy, who had left her alone, wasn't coming back. She brushed the grass off her and tried to straighten her hair. Her tiger ears were missing, but the idea was quickly discarded. Where's Corey? she thought.
A boy in an old clown masked approached her as she began to walk through the backyard and through the side of the house. He stared at her and slowly took one single step. He then took another, one for every heartbeat she took. She froze and turned back around and crossed the yard, hopping over a small tricycle and there at the corner was another kid in a mummy's costume. A drop of blood fell from its head and onto the grass.
She turned back and the boy in the toga was back. "Hey, who are you guys?" but as he finished, blood gutted down his chest and onto the floor. The ghost pushed the boy dead body forward onto the stone walkway and onto the tricycle. He snorted and the others began to laugh. Lauren swung at the mummy's head and found the dark red spot to be mushy and soft. The blow did nothing but become absorbed into the kid’s doughy head. "No," she whispered and the world fell silent.
"Lauren!" Corey's mother screamed, but she was only answered by the cold wind and the laughter of dead children.
"Inside!" his father said. "It's too late now."
"What the hell are you talking about Mark?"
Corey lied on the couch with his swollen body. He began to remember the mask and costumes those four strange kids wore. "They smelt like death," Corey said.
"Because they are. Those kids are some devil's offspring," his father said.
"Mark! What are you talking about?" his wife tried to say but the sound of shotgun shells hitting the linoleum, silenced the room. Corey's father loaded two into one of his father's guns. "I always thought they were a dream? You know, some nightmare . . . that left a stinging memory in my head," his father tapped his own head hard. "I . . . thought they were friends, but my father refused to let me play with them," his eyes stared into the large mirror by the door. "I never went trick or treating. I never opened that gate, I wasn't allowed. But one day I did, I was Lauren's age, and he kicked me out," his arms shivered. "'Death will only enter my yard when I let it' my father said." He paused and his eyes widened. "But it's too late isn't it," he stared at Corey. "I've let death in."
Corey's eyes opened and his body surged with energy. The other kids stood at the screen door with their hideous masks. Corey's father fired blindly and when he was out of ammo, the sounds that clicked from the barrel were drowned out by his loud scream.
The house was a steal. At least to the Gordons, who had moved in several months later. "Just look at this place. Man, did we get a deal," Henry Gordon was amazed at the new furnishings that were placed into the home. He purposely left out the hideous deaths to his family, but it wasn't long until five children stood at their gate staring at the Gordon's youngest son. "Wasn't Halloween months ago?" his wife asked. "I guess so, but look at that zombie kid. His parent's did a pretty good job."